Indigenous people’s festival drew crowds

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UPDATED: One of Norway’s most unusual summer festivals drew record crowds last week, as it showcased the music and culture of indigenous people worldwide, with a special emphasis on Norway’s own Sami. Other artists traveled from as far away as Taiwan and Siberia.

The annual Riddu Riddu Festival was celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, featuring concerts, theater, films, workshops, seminar and speakers. Participants could learn how to joike, weave or dance in addition to attending various performances. By the time it ended, more than 7,000 people had bought tickets and attended events.

The entire festival is held outdoors in the scenic mountainous valley of Manndalen in Kåfjord (Gálvuona suohkan in Sami) in Northern Norway, around a two-hour drive from Tromsø with bus service available, also from Narvik and Alta. Once there, participants camp in their own tents, with one area reserved for families with children. There are no hotels to be found in Manndalen and most events take place outdoors, so everyone is urged on the festival’s website to “bring clothing for all kinds of weather!”

Among those featured this year was Suming, a prize-winning singer and musician who belongs to the Amis indigenous folk of Taiwan. Festival organizers described him as an artist who wants his music to spread knowledge about his people’s history, traditions and lifestyle. Another artist traveling far to perform at Riddu Riddu was Namgar Lkhasaranova from Buratia in southern Siberia.

Festival chief Karoline Trollvik told newspaper Dagsavisen that Riddu Riddu also is important for sharing and promoting Sami culture, with around 5,000 people usually attending the festival during the course of its five days. That number jumped to more than 7,000 this year, and Trollvik was delighted.

For photos, click here (external link to Riddu Riddu’s Flickr site, all photo rights reserved). staff